Originally posted on The Football Fan Spot  |  Last updated 11/15/12
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-6) The Saints are overrated. Yes, they knocked off Atlanta, but Dallas, Carolina, Washington, and Oakland almost did so. Their defense is still a joke. Because of their defense, they rank 28th in yards per play differential and 25th in rate of sustaining drives differential. Their defense ranks dead last in both of those metrics. The Raiders, meanwhile, aren’t much better, but they rank 24th in yards per play differential and 23rd in rate of sustaining drives differential. They rank better in both of those statistics than the Saints and somehow they’re still home dogs. Using those statistics to compute real line, we get that Oakland should be 3.5 point favorites using the yards per play differential method and 4.5 points favorites using the rate of sustaining drives differential method. Instead, Oakland is +5.5. That’s 9 or 10 points of line value, which is an absolutely ridiculous amount to get at this point in the season. Besides, New Orleans has never been good on the road as favorites outside of their division, even when they were good. Since the start of the 2010 season, they are 3-7 ATS as non-divisional road favorites. In his last 13 games as road favorites of 4 or more, Brees is just 4-9 ATS. Their struggles outside of their dome are well documented. Since the start of the 2008 season, Brees completes 68.5% of his passes for an average of 8.1 YPA and 119 touchdowns to 43 interceptions indoors, as opposed to 66.5% completion, 7.5 YPA, and 53 touchdowns to 30 interceptions outside. Speaking of New Orleans being road favorites, teams are 75-97 ATS as road favorites after being home dogs since 1989. The Saints were home dogs against the Falcons last week. Meanwhile, teams are 68-104 ATS as road favorites before being home dogs since 1989. The Saints go home and will be dogs against San Francisco next week. Furthermore, teams are 12-28 ATS as non-conference favorites off a divisional upset win before being dogs. Teams are 16-5 ATS after ending a perfect season during week 9 or later, but I still think overall the Saints are in a bad spot this week, in addition to being overrated and a poor team on the road, outside of the division, and outside of their dome. Meanwhile, the Raiders are in a great spot. It may not seem like it after their 35 point loss in Baltimore last week, but that’s exactly why they’re in a good spot. Teams are 62-31 ATS since 2002 coming off a loss of 31+ or more. Teams coming off a blowout like that tend to be overlooked, undervalued, embarrassed and playing for respect. I think they’ll definitely be the latter of those 2 things. That speaks for itself. I think the Saints will also overlook this lowly non-conference opponent sandwiched in between games against Atlanta and San Francisco, two of the premier teams in their conference (after that they go to Atlanta and the Giants and then host Tampa Bay). Road favorites are 20-39 ATS before being dogs in 3 straight. I also think the Raiders are undervalued as this line has moved from -3 to -5.5 in the last week, giving us even more line value. The only thing I’m worried about other than that 16-5 trend that I mentioned earlier is that the NFC is 25-16 against the AFC this year, but the Raiders don’t have to win to cover here. Plus, on top of all the things I’ve already mentioned, the public is pounding the Saints. The public always loses money in the long run. I like them to cover the 5.5 for a big play. Public lean: New Orleans (90% range) Oakland Raiders 31 New Orleans Saints 27 Upset Pick +190 Pick against spread: Oakland Raiders +5.5 (-110) 4 units
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